Yield: 4 servings
|Active dry yeast
|Very warm water
|Cool water; plus
|Cool water; 75 degrees f
|Patent durum flour
|Coarse yellow cornmeal
|Black sesame seeds
|Kosher salt; plus
1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to dissolve the yeast. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes. Add the cool water and sponge to the yeast mixture and mix with your fingers for about 2 minutes, breaking up the sponge. The mixture should look milky and slightly foamy. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, 2 Tbsp. of the sesame seeds, and the salt together in a large bowl. Pour the sponge mixture on top and mix with your fingers until the dough forms a sticky mass.
2. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, using as little additional flour as possible. Shape the dough into a loose ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat with oil, cover the bowl tightly with oiled plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it looks slightly puffy but has not doubled. Refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours, or preferably overnight, to let the flavors develop and the dough relax.
3. Take the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up and rise slowly, about 1 to 2 hours. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten one piece of dough into a rectangle, then shape it into a cylinder by rolling it up tightly from left to right, as if you were shaping a baguette. Seal the seam well. Place both hands over the center of the cylinder and roll it back and forth from the center out to the ends to elongate it until you have a rope about 20 inches long. Roll the rope lightly in flour and shape it into a coil. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
4. Line a peel or the back of a baking sheet with parchment paper and generously sprinkle it with cornmeal. Place the loaves seam side down on the peel and/or baking sheet; if they are placed side by side leaving 3 to 4 inches between them for rising. With a plant mister, lightly spray a stream of water into the groove of each coil. Pour the remaining 2 Tbsp. of black sesame seeds in a stream into the groove of each coil. Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until almost doubled in bulk but still slightly underproofed.
5. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking stone in the oven to preheat and place an empty water pan directly below the stone. Gently slide the coils onto the baking stone. Pour 1 cup of very hot water into the water pan and immediately shut the oven door.
After 1 minutes, quickly mist the loaves 6 to 8 times, then quickly shut the oven door. Mist the loaves again 1 minute later.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, until the loaves are golden yellow and sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely before slicing. © 1997 Lifetime Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.
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